Supermassive black holes lurk in the hearts and minds of the majority of the galaxies. (Credit: NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)
Black holes are the engines of destruction on a cosmic scale, but it can also be the bringers of life. New research on supermassive black holes, suggesting that the radiation that they emit during the feeding frenzies can make the bio-molecular building blocks, and even the power of the process of photosynthesis.
What is the result? A lot of the more the worlds, roaming in the milky way Galaxy, and beyond, may be suitable for life, the researchers speculated.
For the new study, which was published May 24 in the Astrophysical Journal, the scientists created computer models to look at the bright disks of gas and dust, called active galactic nuclei, or AGN, which are swirling around the supermassive black hole. Some of the brightest objects in the universe, AGN, in the form of a black hole, the gravity is bound to matter. As the matter swirls around a black hole, it releases a tremendous amount of light and solar radiation. [9 Ideas About Black Holes And Dark Matter That Will Blow Your Mind]
Since the beginning of the 1980’s, scientists have suspected that the radiation would be a dead-zone surrounding an AGN. Some researchers have even suggested that such an AGN can be explained as to why we haven’t seen before, and a complex extra-terrestrial life in the direction of the center of the milky way Galaxy. Our galaxy is a monstrous black hole at its center, called Sagittarius A*. Previous studies have found that the 3200 light years of Sagittarius A*and the small GEO’s, X-rays and ultra-violet light to be able to strip the atmosphere of Earth-like planets. (The Milky way is a nearly 53,000 light-years away.)
“People have focused on the adverse effects [of black holes],” Manasvi Lingam, lead author of the study and an astronomer at Harvard University, told Science. “We want to review how to to be harmful to [the rays], and we wonder if there is a good thing.”
The researchers ‘ models suggest that the different worlds and atmospheres that are thicker than the Earth’s, or is it far enough away from an AGN to keep their atmosphere, it might still have a chance of hosting life. At a certain distance, there is a galactic Goldilocks zone, which is just the right amount of ultra-violet radiation.
At this level of radiation in the atmosphere and should not be removed, but the radiation could split the molecules, and the connections that are necessary for the construction of proteins, lipids, and DNA, the building blocks of life, at least as we know it. For a black hole the size of Sagittarius A*, the Goldilocks region, and would extend for about 140 light-years from the black hole at the center, which is 1 light-years across and is 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).
The scientists also looked at the effects of the radiation on the photosynthesis, the process by which plants use the energy from the sun to make sugar. And AGN emit enormous amounts of the most important ingredient is light. This would be particularly important for plants, free-floating planets that have no star to provide light. Recently, astronomers estimated to be about 1 billion of these ‘rogue’ planets moving around it in the Goldilocks zone of the Milky way-like galaxy, according to Manasvi.
The calculation of the area in which the AGN can have the power of photosynthesis, the scientists have discovered that a large part of the galaxies, especially those with supermassive black holes, could be AGN-driven process of photosynthesis. A galaxy similar to our own, the region would have to expand to 1,100 light-years from the center of the milky way galaxy. In a small, compact galaxies, dubbed ultra-compact dwarfs, and more than one-half of the galaxy and were able to stay in this photosynthetic zone.
Taking a fresh look at the adverse effects of the sun’s ultra-violet and x-ray radiation in these areas, the researchers in the new study it is further shown that the adverse effects of an AGN neighbor are exaggerated in the past. Bacteria, on the Earth, made of the biofilms in order to protect themselves against the sun’s rays, and the ultraviolet radiation-heavy areas, to be able to develop similar technology.
The X-rays and gamma-rays, which are AGNs are also spewing out in huge quantities, are more easily absorbed by the Earth-like atmosphere, and would be unlikely to have a major impact on the lives, the researchers said.
Scientists have estimated that the damaging effects of the AGN radiation would most likely end up to be about 100 light-years from Sagittarius A*-size of the black hole.
“Look at what we know about the Earth, it’s an indication that the positive effects do seem to be spread out over a larger area than the negative effects,” One is told Live Science. “It was a great surprise.”
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Originally published on Live Science.